I’m 103 and other musings plus another gold nugget from Oswald Chambers


Mr. Chambers does it again. This. I NEEDED to read this. It is just another huge confirmation that the decision Nick and I recently made for our family was the right thing for us. 

It would be hard for me to explain why this meant so much to me without telling you a lot of our personal history and I don’t think I want to do that… But it is still an amazing read for any Christian. 

If you don’t own a copy of My Utmost for His Highest, I highly recommend getting one or downloading the phone app or having both the book and the phone app, like me. Be forewarned, however, there is more than one version. The original version written in the early 1900’s (1911-1917) and an updated version that puts Mr. Chambers old timey speech into more modern language. I personally prefer the original old timey one because I think the way Mr. Chambers phrases things is poetic and makes me think. Also, I’m secretly 103 and kindly request that you get off my lawn, you dang kids. 

Anyway… go read it. HashtagGoodStuff

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I love these weirdos

My husband, Nick, and his brothers introduced me to this band back in our teenage days and I’ve loved them ever since.  Yesterday, when my daughter Meghan accidentally said a word that almost, kinda sorta sounded like a swear, I started singing this song to her.  Needless to say, she didn’t find it funny.  But she loves Danielson as much as I do.

Stolen from wikipedia, a little, tiny bit of info on Danielson:

In 1993, while attending Rutgers University as a senior, Daniel Smith experienced a spiritual reawakening:

“This was the year I stopped running away from home, picked up my acoustic guitar again and changed from being Dan back to Daniel. I woke up to the fact that I have an amazing family, an amazing childhood and I began to relate everything I was thinking and doing with this in mind… I began reading the Bible and praying again and songs and art started flowing. I would meet with my dad and talk philosophy and theology and I became a child again.”

Smith has cited the major influence his musician father had on him growing up and the importance of lyrical content. Smith began recording songs that would later compose the album A Prayer for Every Hour: “some from my solo 4-track, some with my friends Jason Faunce and Missy Forsyth backing and some with my brothers and sisters backing. Danielson became the name of the songs that I write. I had become “Daniel” and realized that I am a son.” He submitted the album as his final thesis (and received an ‘A’ grade) and performed, joined by his siblings, at the senior art show. Smith then sent the album out to several indie labels but only received a response from Tooth & Nail in California, who picked up the album and released it in 1994.

Danielson Famile (1998)
Lyrics:
Dialogue:
Rachel: Hey, Meg! I heard you went on a date last night.
Megan: Oh yeah? Who’d you hear that from?
Rachel: Your old lady told me. You know she can’t keep a secret. How was it?
Megan: Well, he picked me up at seven. He looked pretty good. He even opened the door for me. I knew I saw something good beneath that bad boy facade. We were driving to the bowling alley, got a flat tire. He got out and started changing it, but it seemed to take forever. So I rolled down the window to ask him if everything was okay, ya know? There was a huge crash, and I think the car fell on his foot or something. I dunno, Rach. He started…started mumbling this strange language. Something…something I’d never heard before.
Rachel: What do you mean?
(Man screaming unintelligibly in background.)
Megan: I can’t explain it. He just kept mumbling this strange language over and over again.
Rachel: Well, what happened next?
Megan: I didn’t say anything to him. He got back in the car and we continued driving to the bowling alley. I could tell his foot was kind of sore. We got to the bowling alley and started to bowl a serious game. I kept getting strikes so that was really cool. He wasn’t doing too well and started getting mad. In the last frame he tried to show off and did a little spin. I felt so bad for him – he dropped his ball on his bad foot by accident. Then I heard him speaking that strange language again.
(Man screaming unintelligibly.)
Rachel: The same exact language?
Megan: Yeah. He didn’t stop for a long time. I just looked at him and I thought, “What’s this all about?”
Rachel: Well, how did it end?
Megan: He drove me back to the house after I beat him totally. He limped out of the car and shuffled with me to my front door. He told me he had a great time and asked me for another date. I kinda just stood there thinking, “How am I gonna say, ‘No way’?” Then –
Rachel: And then?
Megan: He got this silly, glassy, romantic look in his eye and…
Rachel: And what?
Megan: He leaned in for a kiss!
Man: Hey baby (unintelligible vocals, kissing sounds)
Rachel: He didn’t!
Megan: Oh yes, he did! He leaned in for a kiss, and you know what I did?
Rachel: Tell me, tell me!
Megan: I just pushed him away and told him where it’s at!
Won’t kiss no pottymouth!
Away with pottymouth!
Zip up that pottymouth!
Tough talk now walk!
Now walk!

Dear Five Iron Frenzy,

Last night I saw you guys play in St. Louis.  It’s the first time I’ve ever seen you play even though I’ve been a fan since 1999. I’m a heavy set woman in my 30’s. But that didn’t stop me from standing up front, singing, skanking, and just generally being an idiot.

I brought my two girls to see you guys too. And unfortunately for my oldest, I became “that mom”. She genuinely loves your music. She’s been on a one girl crusade to convert her pop music loving friends to punk and ska. But she’s so shy, I spent half my time telling horribly embarrassing stories about how much she loves your band. 


I wish I could have told you how this show affected me last night. For one thing, having been in bands myself, I know what it’s like to have fangirls (or boys) come up to you after a show. You’re tired, you’re analyzing how good or bad you did and if you’re a Christian, you’re wondering if God was able to use you at all. Then some chick (or dude) you’ve never met walks up to you saying a bunch of weird crap and/or just generally being strange. Even though our bands never got out of Missouri, I’ve still experienced the odd fan or two. So when I go to a show, I try to be respectful and stay away from being “that fan” but I feel like I massively failed last night. 

So here I am, fangirling again. If you ever somehow find this blog, I apologize now. 

Here is where we come to the portion of the post where I ramble on forever and ever. Ready? Okay, here we go.

The year was 1999. I had been a committed Christian for all of about 2 years, maybe.  I no longer identified with the group of friends I used to belong to and so I was that strange Christian girl who didn’t even fit in with the other Christians.  Throughout my junior and senior years of high school I had discovered that I had a deep love for Jesus and that all I really wanted was to share the love of Christ with others.  

It was around this time that I discovered Christian ska.  It was the most powerful thing I’d ever experienced.  It was everything I felt inside.  But I was the only person I even knew who had heard of it. Living in a town of only 16,000, (back in ’99, we’re up to 19K now, lol) it wasn’t likely that I would meet anyone else who had.  But I did.

By chance I went with a friend to her church’s youth group.  They met on a different night than my youth group so when she asked me to come because she needed back up vocals for a song, I said sure.  That night literally changed my life forever.  Suddenly I was surrounded by a group of peers who not only loved Jesus as much as I did, they also loved ska!  I started attending both youth groups (as you do) and it wasn’t long before I was asked to join Oxidizer 5.1.  

Oxidizer 5.1 was the band my (now) husband, his brother and their friend Travis were trying to start.  They were looking for a singer and I fit the bill.  We began writing songs and playing shows.  The band grew.  We added horn players and changed bassists a few times. And despite the fact that I was incredibly awkward on stage, we became somewhat popular in about a 100 mile area of rural Missouri.  Somehow, without even really trying hard, I was getting to do the one thing I had wanted to do more than anything else – sharing Jesus with others through ska.


But as you know, being in a band and playing shows is incredibly hard in so many ways.  In the 2 years that Oxidizer was together we all changed so very much.  Along the way we lost sight of why we formed a band in the first place. We split up for stupid reasons that seemed so important at the time.  We lost touch with each other and went our separate ways.

Shortly after the demise of Oxidizer, my husband and I started a new band called The Throwbacks (as in the ones you throw away).  It wasn’t long before we were enjoying a relative amount of popularity in our hometown again.  We even got a fair amount of air play on the local college radio station.  But commitments our drummer needed to fulfill and the fact that I was 6 months pregnant with my oldest daughter caused The Throwbacks to go on a permanent hiatus.

The history of my husband’s and my music takes a lot of wobbly turns after that and I really don’t want to A) remember things in order and B) make you read about it.  So let’s just say that stuff happened.  Nick started recording people.  I taught myself piano and started writing my own songs. (I have something like 50 now.)  He led worship at a lot of places. We had another kid. (That has nothing to do with music.)  I started leading worship.

And now it’s 2016. (A hard year to be a godly man.)

I’m sitting at my desk and suddenly “When I Go Out” pops into my head.  I decide that instead of being productive I will make a meme about it.  I post it on IG and FIF likes the post! I was so surprised.  I didn’t even know you were on Instagram so I decide to waste more time checking it out.  That’s when I see your post announcing the upcoming show in St. Louis.  It was 2 weeks away and all ages, I knew we had to go and take our daughters.  FIF is my oldest daughter’s favorite band ever.  She practically fainted when I told her we were going to see you play.


I bought the tickets online and had it all worked out.  We’d go but stay in the back and just enjoy the music.  My husband and I were just too old for this stuff anymore.  But after we got there, I knew I had to take my daughters up front so they could really experience everything.  As we were waiting for the show to start we got to meet Leanor, “Jeff the Girl”, which was amazing.  All I really wanted to do was say hi, be respectful, not take up too much of her time, but I looked at my daughter Meghan who is so terribly shy, she was just staring at her and I knew I needed to say something, anything, to get her talking.  My choice of stories to tell was less than desirable.  All I could think of was the most embarrassing stuff.  Even as I was saying the stuff I was like, “What is wrong with you, Bonnie?” But I just couldn’t reel the crazy back in.

Before the show I had every intention of just chilling out on the sidelines.  But again, I looked at my daughters and knew I needed to be bold and crazy and dance and scream and freak out.  Later they told me they loved watching me dance and sing along to the songs. It’s something I’m sure they’ll never forget. Haha. My daughter Meghan told me that the whole experience actually helped her grow.  She realized she’d been hiding herself and that she needed to stop hiding.  


Meghan is special.  I know, all moms think their kids are special, but Meghan really is.  She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the tender age of 2 and dyslexia at the age of 6.  And just recently she was diagnosed with scoliosis.  We’ve been homeschooling since we discovered the dyslexia.  So here she is almost 13 years old and like every other kid on the planet, she just wants to fit in.  But she’s diabetic, dyslexic, homeschooled, her back is crooked and she listens to music none of her peers have ever heard of.  And despite all of that, she has a real and genuine love for God.  She’s an incredibly talented jewelry maker and enormously witty.  She’s recently begun learning the guitar and even though she won’t let anyone know it, she has an amazing singing voice.

So after the show, when we were driving home, I apologized for how much I embarrassed her.  I was sincerely sorry for turning into the stereotypical, embarrassing mother at the show.  But she said she wasn’t mad.  She was actually glad I did it because sometimes people need to be embarrassed in order to push themselves.  She said going to the show made her realize she had to open up to people more and let her guard down.  It seems last night may have been a turning point in my little girl’s life.


Back to the show.

It’s the last song.  FIF plays “Every New Day”, which I understand is played last at every show.  This is a song that has meant a lot to me in the past and I’ve actually played it at church on the piano during Sunday morning worship before.  (Not sure what the little old ladies thought of it. Hahaha)  Reese starts to sing “healing hands of God have mercy on our unclean souls once again” and a couple things inside me come undone.  I start to bawl like a little baby.  Gotta say I wasn’t expecting to do that at all.

One – I’m standing in a bar in St. Louis with strangers, many of whom are probably not Christians, and I’m lifting my hands in worship to God, asking Him to have mercy on my unclean soul.  And the thought that it really doesn’t matter what anyone else around me or on stage is doing, that I can be the biggest nerd and just worship God right there and then just absolutely tears me apart.

Two – No matter what the current vision of FIF is, if you are out in the world to tell people about Jesus or if you just want to play music, doesn’t matter to me either.  Something I lost years ago – an innocence, a simplicity – has been found again.  That desire I had back in ’99 to share Jesus through music never really went away.  I still write all the time.  But the simplicity of it and the pure joy it brought me returned to me last night.

My husband and I have been worship leaders and youth leaders and prayer leaders for years now.  We’ve never stopped telling people about Jesus.  But in so many ways we became hardened, complicated, wary creatures.  We’ve been criticized and asked to leave churches and told we aren’t good enough for years.  We’ve burned bridges and hurt too many people.  We’ve seen the messy side of ministry, the ugly side.  But somehow, last night, I was transported back to 1999 where my heart was young and alive and innocent.

You will probably never read this and that is ok.  I’m not sure I really wrote it for you.  But if you do read this someday, I hope you know that whether or not you intended for it to happen, God used you in the hearts of The Cox Family on August 13, 2016.  You helped a young girl to begin the process of tearing down a wall she’s been building around her heart for a long time.  And you helped a burned out couple of ministers reconnect to the motivations that began them down their path so many years ago.

He is the same God that He was in 1999.  The Internet, social media and Kanye can’t change that.  At some point, in all of our hearts (I’m speculating) we had a real desire to change hearts and lives for Jesus with our music.  Recognition, accolades, admiring fans and Benjamin$ didn’t really factor in.  We had a cheap amp/guitar/drum set/whatever and passion and that was it.  Playing a show out of town meant we were “making it” and usually involved cramming as much gear and people into as few cars as possible to save on gas.  We didn’t get paid much, if anything, and didn’t have enough cash to even grab some dinner.  But praying with that one kid or leading that other kid in the prayer of salvation or seeing kids on their faces in worship after they’d just danced those same faces off – well, that made it all worth it.

Last night reminded me that sharing Jesus can be simple and beautiful.  It doesn’t have to be complex, eloquent, trendy or clever.  It can be as simple as telling a 12 year old girl that you like the necklace she made.  Or just singing “Healing hands of God have mercy on our unclean souls once again.  Jesus Christ, light of the world, burning bright within our hearts forever. Freedom means love without conditions, without a beginning or an end. Here’s my heart, let it be forever Yours. Only You can make every new day seem so new.”

Simple.  

Sooooooo, yeah… I’ve been rambling on for a while now.  Guess I need to conclude this puppy.  FIF, keep doing what you’re doing.  God is using you whether you want Him to or not.  He’s God and He can do whatever He wants.

I’m gonna go write another song this week.  

Love you guys,

Bonnie

2 Songs for the price of one!

Music, baby.  Here’s a couple songs to tickle your eardrums.  The first one is called Never Ending.  I wrote it a while ago and Nick recorded it today.  It’s not an edited version.  It’s just a straight up recording, complete with flaws and all.  Enjoy.


 

 

Your love for me is never ending
You are always on my side

 

Your love is so hard to comprehend
A light that never ends
And pierces through the dark
Places in me I can’t fight them on my own
I am weak and You are strong
Open up my eyes to see

 

And I know I cannot earn it I don’t deserve it
A mystery to me
And I know at times I’m faithless ashamed and naked
Your love covers me

 


 

Okay, here’s gem #2.  I found this little beauty on my phone.  It’s called Turtle Song and it’s a true story.  I remember the day I made the recording.  I’m not 100% sure it’s fit for human ears but here it is anyway.

 

 

There is a turtle out in the road
Walking toward his turtle home
Don’t want to hit him I’ll drive around
Until that turtle is safe and sound

 

Well, that’s all I got for now, my pretties.  Feel free to check out some of my other songs by clicking MMMM… STUFF at the top of the page.  I’ve written 30 or 40 songs now but I’ve only recorded a few.  One of these days I’ll get around to recording the rest.  Nick eagerly awaits the day that I record Robot Death Match.  One of these days.  😉

Peace, my people.

A Whole New World (Don’t You Dare Close Your Eyes)

Momentous events in the lives of my amazing girls this week.

First up: Meghan, my beautiful and talented 11 year old, received her first insulin pump this week.  She is now a card-carrying member of the insulin-pump-wearing Type 1 diabetes crowd.  It’s amazing for her to no longer have to get 4 or more shots each day.  (For those of you who don’t know, an insulin pump delivers small amounts of insulin to her continuously through a tiny needle inserted just below the skin.)  It’s taking some getting used to but Meghan can already feel a huge difference in her everyday life and she’s “pumped” about it.*

 

Next up: Sammee, my cute and hilarious 8 year old, received her first pair of glasses this week.  She was blind but now she sees! Someone give me an Amen! Hallelujah!  I knew something was up a couple weeks ago when she tried my glasses on and said they helped her see better. Lol.  Thankfully, her eyesight isn’t anywhere near as bad as mine and she has yet to flush her glasses down the toilet.  But glasses are opening up her eyes to the world around her.* 
 

My rad girls are just getting radder by the day and growing up right before my eyes.  (Sniff, sniff.)  So on that note, I leave you with this video by Nick Pitera, a guy who sings a song. (And boy does he sing it.)

*All puns in this blog post were entirely intentional.  In some cases, puns are not intended by the speaker of the pun and said speaker will then say, “No pun intended.”  Please note, in the case of this blog post, all puns were, in fact, intended.

DRIVE!

For those of you waiting for your camera… I haven’t mailed them yet. Just a little bit of honesty for you. My 15th wedding anniversary was yesterday and I “lost” my glasses. (More on that in my next post.) But I’ll try to get them mailed by this weekend. 

While you’re waiting you need to head on over to my new favorite web comic: Drive. It’s an amazingly clever and absolutely brilliant comic by artist Dave Kellett. It’s an ongoing story, not a non-sequitur, so you really need to put on your nerd pants and start at the beginning. If you’re anything like me then you love humorous sci-fi stories set hundreds of years in the future. But don’t let me spoil it for you with spoilers. Click that link and settle in.